Each week, our sixth grade teacher set aside time for "Show and Tell." Students were encouraged to bring something unusual to school and explain its use or function to the class. One Friday, Jerry brought a 30 caliber machine gun to school. Jerry's father, a World War II veteran, had served in the Pacific theater. On the battlefield, he had captured a Japanese machine gun. I have no idea how he managed to leave the service with a Japanese machine gun tucked under his arm, but it happened. (One day, I will tell you about a distant relative who smuggled two hand grenades after receiving his discharge papers.) But let's get back to our 30 caliber Japanese machine gun.
I suppose Jerry and his father toted the gun to school in the family automobile. Jerry and the machine gun got out in the school parking lot and his dad then went off to work.
The Japanese machine gun was quite a hit with the boys and girls and, at the end of the school day, it was time for Jerry and the machine gun to go home. Jerry's dad was still working. A 30 caliber machine gun weighs substantially more than, say, a feather pillow or a bag of marshmallows. At the teacher's prompting, I volunteered to help Jerry carry the machine gun back to his home.
So, on a pleasant fall afternoon in 1964, two sixth grade boys are walking down Cheviot Drive with a 30 caliber machine gun. I held the stock and Jerry had the end of the gun's barrel in his grip. No one stopped us. No one asked what we were doing. The police did not close off the street or send in the SWAT Team. This was 1964 and there were no mass shootings.
Friend, there were plenty of guns in 1964. There were very few gun laws in 1964, too. If anyone thinks guns are the problem, I am afraid they are not a critical thinker. Chicago, perhaps the nation's murder capital, has very tough gun laws. Tough gun laws will not solve society's problems. The problem is people.
We teach boys and girls that they are the evolutionary byproducts of random chance. We entertain boys and girls with violent games and violent music and violent entertainment. We teach boys and girls that life is cheap. We teach boys and girls there is no God and there are no absolute truths.
I grew up in a world in which guns were plentiful and gun laws were scarce. But I also grew up in a world that was far less hostile to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Even those who did not identify themselves with Christianity were civil and tolerant of Christ's followers.
I fully expect to see tougher gun laws passed in light of the recent back to back shootings. Will tougher gun laws solve the problem? I can only wish we, as a nation, were producing better people.